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My whole life I have never been shy!! Probably the understatement of the year. I have gotten smarter as I have gotten older and I have learned better ways to express myself. But mostly I’m a fact based truth kind of person. Even when it hurts!

Having said that I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and I think God is pushing me to share. Many of you have seen my posts about my diagnosis and life as someone who is Bipolar. But there’s another part that I don’t really talk about much. I was also diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Society throws around the word Narcissistic a lot. They use it for anyone that has their own opinions that usually are very different from most other people’s. This word has a horribly bad and out of proportion reaction to this word.

But it’s not a bad word. And it doesn’t always have to be a negative in a persons life. Most of the time we only hear about the really bad people. And most people don’t even really discuss this. When we got my diagnosis Chad basically said “I can deal with the narcissist I’ve gotten used to that, it’s the other stuff I can’t deal with”. Lol

I was glad that he didn’t blow it out of proportion and make me feel even worse than I already did. And the truth is I am pretty self absorbed. I love people and I love helping people. Maybe this is part of why. It’s like I share my narcissism with someone for a time and it builds their spirit enough that they can move on and do great things without me. I am proud of that.

I am proud that I can be a cheerleader for people who just need someone to love and encourage them. I am proud that what is sometimes a bad thing is also so many times a wonderful thing. To be honest I read the definitions and I think “is that really me?” When it comes right down to it it is me. I have learned to act different ways but at the end of the day I’m a bottom line kind of person. If we are in the middle of a rush at work I am so focused I often forget that I have coworkers with me. That probably don’t want a nasty person working next to them. But honestly I don’t care what your problems are. If we are busy do your job and do it right.

It’s not that I can’t see that that’s a little cold and disconnected but it is the vast majority of the time my first reaction. I think I’m awesome. Pretty much all the time and in so many ways. It doesn’t help that I am extremely self aware and God have me the gift of discernment. Those two things together pretty much guarantee something happens that makes me think how great I am.

I know I am not supposed to be inflated with self. But I say all the time “at least I share it. I do think I’m great but I think other people are as well and I take the time to tell them”. And sometimes I wonder if this “sickness” isn’t what allows me to feel so close to God. I have ALWAYS felt close to Him. I have always known that I am ok and perfect in His eyes. It’s not something I think about I just KNOW. And there’s that very small place in my heart that is always content and at peace. I know when I leave this world where I’m going. I know that being mentally sick is one of the very worst and safest things that anyone can deal with. I know that my inflated sense of self effects my life and relationships on a regular basis. I know that most of my waking hours are spent trying NOT to do things that I’m not supposed to say or do. I fail a lot. But I know that God knows me and he knows that I only want those around me to have a better, happy, and more productive life.

Narcissistic is a hard word to wrap your mind around. It’s even harder to wrap your mind around the fact that YOU have this illness and it effects your life everyday. I am so much better with my meds. I feel more control of my mind and my feelings. For that I am grateful but they don’t take it all away. Like my Mom has told me more than once “I just want you to not have to struggle so hard just to live your life”. That’s probably one of the greatest things she has ever said to me and I hang on to it everyday. I still struggle but it’s not even close to what it used to be. And I’m grateful to have a Mom that decided I needed help, even if it took years to find all the answers.

I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I love my life. I have friends and family that love me and I am NOT a monster. So if you wanted to try to remember to pray for those of us who struggle on a daily basis just to live life I know a bunch of people who would appreciate it. And please remember when you hear or see people using the word Narcissistic they don’t always know what they are talking about and often they are using it in the wrong way or to define someone that is most likely hurting themselves.

If you read this long post I appreciate it. Be blessed and LIVE your life and be THANKFUL that you don’t have to battle your mind everyday from things you don’t even always understand.

Reblog – Choosing to Prioritize Life

This is such beautiful and honest post on just how important it is to not only manage your illness but your life as well. I can certainly relate to much of what Julie shares, and I can learn from it as well. Lydia! For a long time, I’ve seen it as necessary to prioritize my …

Using Facebook to Track Bipolar Depression

I never planned it this way, but I’ve just realized that I can track my moods (roughly) by looking back at my Facebook posts.

When I joined Facebook, I must have been in a hypomanic phase. Thanks to Facebooks “today’s memories” feature, I can see that I posted numerous things going on in my life and assorted weirdness I’d encountered, usually about language or science or feminism:

Plenty of food in the freezer. (Spare freezer outdoors.) Plenty of food in the fridge. (Spare fridge downstairs.) Plenty of seasoned firewood. Plenty of sweaters. Plenty of cat food. Plenty of cats. We’re ready.

Little to no snow here. But bring your brass monkeys inside tonight, folks!

Weird Non-Word of the Day:

bang (a fine word, except when it purportedly means the singular of bangs, the hairstyle)

I also posted an ongoing series of amusing or stupid headlines I saw on the Internet:

“Oh, Who the Hell Cares?” Headline of the Day:

Is 2014 the year of the biscuit?

Unless you’re a dog. Dogs care deeply about this.

Those were all from January 2014. And from 2013:

Just so you know – do not put a whole summer squash in the microwave. It will explode. This tip courtesy of someone who prefers his name not be mentioned. Thank you. You may now go back to whatever you were doing.

I was engaged. I was communicative. I was – dare I say it? – buoyant.

I was hypomanic, or at least on a level playing field.

This year I have taken two breaks from Facebook for my sanity’s sake, in reaction to all the negativity and bad news appearing there. When I do post, it’s always pass-along memes or cartoons. (I’m glad I’m still “alive” enough to find some things funny.) Occasionally I make comments or ask questions about my friends’ posts – but not damn often. I IM with one or two close friends, and that seems the most “productive” thing I do, some days. A series of days or months like that are a pretty clear indication that I’m on the downswing.

I understand that now Facebook’s memories feature will let you weed out bad memories, instead of reminding you of them and offering to repost them for all to see. (If only I could do the same for my brain!) The problem is, right now, you can only have them block references to certain people and certain dates.

Birthdays and holidays are tough for me, as I know they are for many of you, but, anymore at least, they are not so traumatic that I have to expunge them from my life. I can always choose not to repost them. Just as I can choose not to repost things I said that were about depressing topics – not getting a job, being angry about political bullshit, the death of a pet. The people I would block are already on my blocked list, or are ones I never “friended” in the first place.

Facebook also reminds me what I posted on my blogs in various years, and that gives me some idea of what I was thinking or feeling at the same time in various years. If I wanted or needed to, I could look through my Facebook memories and plot a graph of how my moods fluctuated from month to month, year to year. Yes, I know that there are software apps that will do this for you and that I could keep a mood journal or even a paper-and-pencil graph.

Instead I check my Facebook memories and re-repost things that I still think are funny.

 

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, creativity, depression, Facebook, friends, mood tracking, my experiences, writing

My Grown-up Chronic List

In one of the several FB groups I belong to, the question was asked, “What is one thing (or more) you are thankful for this holiday season? I listed a couple of things; however, since then I have come up with more so I thought I would share them here. Unlike the song that inspired …

Dear Bipolar Disorder

Dear Bipolar Disorder,

We’ve had a relationship for decades now, though it’s one I never chose. To tell the truth, I can’t even remember when we met. Gradually, you just moved in. So I guess we’re stuck as roommates for the rest of my life. You can’t break your lease and I can’t move out. That being said, there are some things I need to talk to you about. We’ve never been friends. We never will be. I have some issues with you; there are compromises we need to make.

I’ll take my meds faithfully, if you keep working with them. By that I mean no major depressions of longer than a week and no panic attacks while I’m trying to sleep.

I’ll pay for those meds, as long as you back off enough to let me keep working and earning money and paying for insurance. Just leave me enough concentration to do that and to read, and I’ll be satisfied.

I won’t go to Chuck E. Cheese or Cici’s Pizza or shopping at a mall anytime after Thanksgiving, if you will let me go out at other times to other places without getting your figurative undies in a bundle.

I will try to minimize the stress in my life (see above), if you will cut out the physical symptoms when there is stress anyway. You know the ones I’m talking about. Ick. Just ick. I hate cleaning up after you.

And can we talk about spoons? I know you only give me a limited number per day, but it would sure help if I knew what that number was. Is there any way you can be more consistent? If I have to borrow spoons from the next day or force myself to attend to some vital call or lengthy errand despite not having spoons, I promise to spend the next day in bed, just to satisfy you.

Please, if you can, give me some non-anxiety-laden hypomania so that I can go out and enjoy things with my husband and friends. If you agree to this, I will occasionally let you buy things off the Internet, for $20 or less.

And while we’re on the subject of enjoyment, I would appreciate it if you would give me back my libido. So would my husband. I know you don’t take orders from him, but it would be esteemed a favor.

Don’t even talk to me about hurting myself. I won’t listen. No matter how loud you get.

Don’t get between me and my friends. You’ve done that too often already and I just can’t put up with it anymore.

No more screwing with my memories. I’ve already lost enough. You can keep the ones of everything stupid I’ve ever done, but I will not watch when you push play on my internal video playback.

Now that I’ve finally got some self-esteem back, you just keep your claws off it. I need it and you don’t.

No dogs allowed. Especially large Black Dogs.

Oh, and tell your buddy Depression to leave my husband alone.

No love,

Me

 

 


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: bipolar disorder, concentration, depression, emotions, friends, hypomania, mental health, my experiences, Spoon Theory

“Will You Still Love Me If I …”

I had the TV on for background noise yesterday while I was working on a cake. If I am alone and not at the computer I have to have something on, whether it is the radio or the TV. I leave it on the same station that I watch the news on and it just …

The Park As Good Medicine – Part 1

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you will know that: I have many types of chronic illness but I make the most out of life I can. I live with my hubby and our … Continue reading

Body, Not Brain

I have been rubbish about checking in here… sorry about that. But like, most of my problems these days have been physical rather than mental. Even with having been putting up with a bullying situation in my social group, the stress and upset in response to that has been minimal and within ‘normal’ tolerance.

My body, on the other hand, is fired. My chronic fatigue levels are so high that I don’t really manage to blog anything but my daily blog. That includes reading other blogs — I still care, but I don’t have the spoons to act on it really. I can wish for a miracle and hope that it will improve somehow, but I’ve been dealing with it for 21 years, and it tends to keep getting worse. Add in my back pain, which has existed nearly as long (and since I was a stick figure of a teenager), and I’ve got the walking stick style down pat.

I still would say I have a pretty good quality of life though. I still get my knitting and gaming done. I still get my ‘required’ daily writing done. I don’t murder the children, I am productive at work — but all of that takes most of what I have. I can’t say that I’m regretful or upset though, because like… that’s wasting spoons I don’t have. I certainly hope that it comes around (see paragraph previous, redux, blah blah blah).

So, what does it mean for around here? I don’t know. I’m not closing down the blog or the network, even if they’re both getting neglected. I firmly believe that both are still important, and it’s more a matter of finding a way to work this space and you lovely people back in, because even if I’m not wasting time on regret, I still miss you folk. But we’ll see.

For now, I scoot.

<3

Ode to Beyonce

My favorite furry friend Beyoncé has passed away. I found her upon my return home from work this past Wednesday. She was a beautiful, gentle, black and white kitty. Her sister, Sage, passed a year ago. The first month without Sage Beyoncé was lost. She bellowed into our long hallway once the lights went out for the night. It was heart wrenching. But, we also had the opportunity to watch her blossom into herself. I say that because Sage pretty much ran the show at our house. With no alpha personality to share space with, Beyoncé changed from an introvert to an extrovert. She suddenly demanded my attention. Demanded when to be fed and even became a picky eater. Expected to be pet in a certain way. She was now the princess of her domain. But, honestly, she just wanted to be loved wholeheartedly.
I loved her as she would allow. We rescued her and her sister at about 2 months old. We were later told Beyonce was the “runt” of the litter. She certainly acquiesced to her domineering sister. Beyoncé was sitting on my lap once, which was rare. I mean neither of these cats enjoyed being picked up. I don’t think they experienced much socialization those first two months. Anyway, I digress. Beyoncé and I were enjoying a moment and Sage jumped up and swatted her away. Just like that B slinked off. Just so you know, I didn’t oblige Sage and swatted her away accordingly. Its not like we weren’t a happy household. We truly were as a foursome. But there seemed to be some unwritten cat rules.
As miss B gained confidence she even went outside. A big deal considering sticking her nose out the back screen door caused anxiety. Slowly, if we kept the escape door (aka backdoor) open she might venture 1-2 feet. She had to know she could go back inside at anytime. In her own time, Beyoncé came to enjoy venturing in the backyard. She sat amongst the plants in our garden. Most recently she flopped in front of the tomato plants and I called her the tomato whisperer. Like into the summer nights she would sit below the stars only coming to my call. I had a special way of calling her name. She wouldn’t come in for my husband.
Funny enough, she started to love mornings outside. Before I had to go to work. I would let her out, but not ten minutes later she wanted in. Then wanted back out. In the span of an hour I probably let her in and out 5-6 times. It was almost a game. I willingly played along. I felt she deserved it.
In the last months of her life she stopped eating much. She was thin. People would jokingly ask if I fed her. Of course I put food out everyday, she just wasn’t all that interested. She seemed okay, though had to work a little harder to breathe. We did take her to the vet and were told she had a small tumor. I hesitate to say we aren’t ones to put a kitty through testing that would only give us a timeframe, not necessarily a solution. So we brought her back home and loved her more.
Our cats have continual flea issues and I have tried to be vigilant. In an effort to relieve Beyoncé of nefarious scratching I opted to put flea medicine on her. I don’t think her system was strong enough for the medicine. This I didn’t know. I wanted her to be free from pain. Perhaps it helped in terms of fleas, but not in terms of her strength to handle the chemicals.
I left for work on Wednesday morning full of worry. I could see she was struggling. I was hoping the medicine was coursing through her system and it was a temporary reaction. I didn’t think she wouldn’t make it through the day but felt her time in my life was dwindling. She had signs and symptoms of her sisters passing. Seeing her sprawled on the floor obviously vying for her last breath was heart breaking. I wish so much I had one more day. Or even knew I had only one more day. I would have spoiled her rotten.
I am without furry friends. Unconditional love buckets. Sometimes a reason to get out of bed. A distraction from my head. Company.  I have cried.  Waves of emotion wash over me. It’s too quiet in the house.  I cleaned her area and removed food bowls, water, litter box.  I miss her only being willing to eat if I pet her at the same time.  I mean, really, I always have 5 minutes To spare. I miss calling her name as I walk through the front door…Beeeeeyonceeeeeeeeee!
We provided Sage and Beyonce a safe loving home. I know they felt that. In return I felt their love. Rest in piece my favorite furry friends.  I will forever miss you.


My Babies Aren’t Babies

I’m 36. I just finished reading an article from a woman that is 45 to the 30 something mothers of young children. I read that article and I have read many more like it. They are wonderful and most of the time spot on. What you don’t here about much is the 30 somethings will grown or almost grown kids. 

I had my oldest a month after I turned 18. So if you can do math he is now 18. And graduated and going to college(in town here, but still). Then I have a 13 and 12 year old. I’m not done parenting by any stretch but it’s definitely a vastly different world than having toddlers or infants. My sister, who will be 35 in July had a 10 y/o, a 3y/o, and a 6 month old. We are at completely seperate ends of the parenting cycle. 

While there’s nothing wrong with that I do often feel alone. In a world where people are waiting later and later to have children. I had mine early. My daughter will graduate when I am 42. While it’s exciting to think my husband and I will finally be able to do more together without anyone else. It isn’t something that I know anything about. 

I have always been a mother. I have never been an adult person without children. And while kids growing up and moving out of has different so many emotions balled up together. For me it just kind of makes me paralyzed. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to act. I don’t even know how to think without  kids being involved. Every decision that’s made includes them. 

I am that 45 year old woman looking at people my own age and saying. You WILL miss this. It WILL get better. It will change and the things driving you mad right now will change into being terrified of your kids making decisions for themselves. I know so many things about kids. About how they act and the things they do. And I try to share as much as I can. I see the mother with three kids in the back of her van and feel compelled to say “you’re gonna make it. It will be ok.”

Not that any of this is wrong or bad but it’s very different. I also have a step daughter who is grown with her own kids. Not to many people my age know what it’s like to try to love and help someone who is already adult with their own children. So I know things. I know that your children will make decisions that break your heart. I know that parenting a grown up is vastly different and requires a lot of thought and consciousness of what you say and do. I know that teenagers will get mad at you, and stay mad at you no matter how much you do for them. I know that sometimes you have to make very difficult choices in order to protect your child from him or her self. And I know that as you start to realize you are getting your life back. You carry around in the pit of your stomach a fear and worry that never completely goes away. 

I’m 36. I don’t have a lot of people my age that can relate because they all have young children. I am 36 and know things that Mommas in their 40’s know. I am 36 and my sister, who’s 18 months younger than me, can’t really relate to anything that is happening in my life right now. I’m 36 and I feel like I have already lived a lifetime. A lifetime of love and of laughter. A lifetime of pain and anguish. A lifetime of trying to help teach and guide my children into being the people that they should be. A lifetime of putting myself in the back burner to the point that I woke up one day and there was no you left for me to use that back burner. So it’s my time or our time. And I don’t know what to do with it. Because I still have 2 that have several years to go I still don’t know the feeling of not having someone know where I am or what I am doing. But they are old enough that I can do things without them. And that means that there is more time for me. I find myself wondering what that means. I don’t really know what to do with my time. For the most part every minute or of everyday has been full of others wants and needs. I wasn’t able to sit and watch a movie because someone always needed something. Or they were fighting or any number of other things. When you start being a Mom before your ever really an adult you don’t get to decide what you want to do. You don’t get to do things and not worry about someone else. You can’t just decide to pick up and go somewhere or do something. I didn’t go to my first real concert until I was late 20’s. Not because I didn’t have someone to watch my kids but because they are my kids. And while all parents need a break from time to time I never felt right asking others to watch my kids on a regular basis. 

So here I sit at 36. With the knowledge of people much older than me and people around me that don’t necessarily believe me when I tell them things. I have already been through the years where I thought I was a bad Mom, ALL THE TIME!!!! I have come out in the other side and as I watched my son walk across that stage this year and get his high school diploma. I knew that I did good. I knew that if I never do anything else I made an actual real impact on his life. I knew then that it doesn’t matter how old you are. Or how you choose to raise your kids. It’s the love and life lessons you help them learn that ultimately leave an imprint on everything that they do. Ya I started young. Yes, there were those who I’m sure believed I would fail. At raising my son. At staying married. At being the person I need to be for my step daughter. But I have done ALL those things. They aren’t in the future they are RIGHT NOW!! And I get to be proud and I get to let a little bit of that fear go because I know that if the only thing they ever learned from me is love. That’s enough. So even though I’m 36 and once again hitting a milestone long before this around me. I KNOW that I have something to give. And I know that I have living proof that I made a difference. 

So to the 30 something moms. Please know that there will be a day when you too can say “I made a difference”. When you can say the love my children learned came from me. When you too will know that while it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done, it’s also the very best thing you have done. And that is true for everyone of us that chooses  our kids and puts in the time it takes to love them. And to teach them that if they know nothing else they know their mother loves them. 

Thanks for reading. Be blessed! And kiss those babies!!